That One Guy

He seems to pop up in every book. The male lead, the flawless body, the perfect contrast to the main character. He has different names, yes, and he's dark or light, but I keep seeing him in every book I pick up. One thing I plan on focusing on in my writing - to an excessive level - is making my perfect guy... not so perfect. Making him different.

For instance, in my last book, my male lead had a crooked nose, and he wasn't very cute. He had a personality, though, that made me want him to leap out of the pages and ask me out on a date. He was real. He made jokes, he got angry, he worried. I'm tired of these tall, dark, mysterious strangers seeking out these young girls who, let's be honest, wouldn't normally be picked out of the vast crowd of women in the world. For me, perfection isn't what makes a guy desireable. It's his imperfections. Does that sound screwed up just to me or are you thinking it too?

There are so, so many books out there now. Especially in the young adult genre, we see this perfect guy. To make that counterpoint character really stand out, really make readers take notice, he needs to have a reason behind noticing your main character. He needs to be human - or, if he's not so human, he needs to have those flaws that make him genuine. I've found that those flaws can be the smallest things, too, just a tiny peek into that window of his soul. Maybe he chews his nails. Maybe his front tooth has a chip in it. Maybe he snorts when he laughs. Maybe he listens to opera in secret. Forgo the mysterious dark clothing and brooding silences... to a point. I'm not saying avoid these things entirely. Just make sure to add to the image.

Sorry, ranting finished. This has been on my mind lately as I've been catching up on my reading. I feel like I don't know any of these boys I'm supposed to care about. Then I remembered that I can do something about it - in my own stories.